Maryann Cahill, the wife of late Valley Stream Mayor Ed Cahill, who was known by friends for her gregarious nature and kind heart, died on Dec. 10. She was 82.
“She always told you like it was,” said longtime friend Stephanie Darcy. “You could count on her to tell you the truth, even if it smarted.”
Maryann, along with her husband, ushered in a new era in Valley Stream politics, joining a bipartisan coalition in 1995 with then Mayor James Darcy, a Republican and Deputy Mayor Guido Cirenza, a Democrat. Ed would go on to be the second-longest serving mayor in Valley Stream history before his death in office in 2010. They had been married for 49 years.
But Maryann was perhaps most famously known by many in Valley Stream for her more than 25 years serving as a crossing guard for the Holy Name of Mary School, at the corner of Rockaway and Jamaica avenues so much so that the corner on Rockaway on which she stood was named after her.
Born Maryann McCarthy in 1932 in Queens, she was one in a family of eight children. It was there she met Ed, who was serving as a New York City police officer. The two moved to Valley Stream 53 years ago.
Maryann was a prominent socialite in Valley Stream, leading and organizing women’s groups such as the Knights of Columbus ladies auxiliary and the women’s Republican Club, meeting at local spots such as the Concord Diner, Mitchell’s and Ancona.
Maureen Weeden who met Maryann while her children attended the Holy Name of Mary School in the late 1980s, said she noticed Maryann’s penchant for kindness, collecting clothes and personally donating them to people in need.
“She was an outreach type of person,” Weeden said, noting that she would help struggling seniors who she saw on Rockaway. “If somebody had a need she would try and help them out.”
Maryann was also known to be a fun loving character, often standing out at parties.
“Whenever we’d go to functions together, Maryann and I were up on the dance floor cutting up the rug,” Darcy recalled. “She was always the life of the party, and a lot of fun to be around.”
The death of Ed, however, hit her hard. “It was devastating for her,” Weeden said. “They were inseperable … I think it was lonely for her and she was ready to go see him.”
Maryann’s funeral was held at Holy Name of Mary Church on Dec. 15. She is survived by siblings Patricia, Cathy and Thomas.